Sunday 23 January 2011

Dancing With Myself: ROGER SMITH interviews ROGER SMITH

A funny thing happened to me on Friday morning. I had an e-mail to let me know I was the winner of his competition at THINGS I’D RATHER BE DOING, and his Crime Fiction Fairy Tale contest.

It means an awful lot to me as you can probably imagine. It means an awful lot because of the quality of the other entries. It's not too late to read them. All you need to do is click. You won't be disappointed whichever direction you choose to go in from there.

Thanks to John Kenyon for setting it all up.

Today, coming over to dance, is Roger Smith.

Roger Smith was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now lives in Cape Town. Before turning to a life of crime, he was a screenwriter, producer and director. His debut thriller, Mixed Blood, was published in the U.S. and Germany in 2009. It won the Deustchen Krimi Preis (German Crime Prize) and was nominated for a Spinetingler New Voice Award in the U.S.A.

The movie version of Mixed Blood is in development starring Samuel L. Jackson, with Phillip Noyce directing.

Roger’s second book, Wake Up Dead, has been published to critical acclaim in the U.S., UK and Germany and will also be released in Japan, Italy and France.

His third book, Dust Devils, will be published internationally in 2011.

Visit Roger’s website:

1 The book that changed it all for you?

The Hunter by Richard Stark. The first Parker book – lean as a Brazilian supermodel. I was about twelve when I first read it and was totally unprepared for its amoral worldview. I still have that dog-eared little paperback.

2 An author you admire outside of crime writing?

Ian McEwan. A so-called literary author with the plotting muscle of a suspense writer. The opening chapter of Enduring Love has to be one of the most gripping I have ever read, across all genres.

3 Do you think your books are funny?

I don’t write capers but I think there’s dark humour in them. Mixed Blood’s villain, Rudi Barnard, is a comic figure in a very black, Sweeney Toddish way. A reviewer somewhere said that Wake Up Dead is like a farce with dead bodies and I enjoyed that. South Africa, like most societies in turmoil, seems an ungodly mix of comedy and tragedy.

4 A few songs that tell us where your head is at?

Johnny Cash doing Trent Reznor’s Hurt. Hey Joe by Hendrix. Iggy Pop’s Some Weird Sin. And lately I find myself singing Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson in the shower – Christ only knows why.

5 Is your third book, Dust Devils, autobiographical?

No, even though I wanted to call it No Country For Middle-Aged White Men. The main character, an ex-Lefty who has become disillusioned with contemporary South Africa, is a composite of a lot of people I know but he’s put through all kinds of hell and torment. So, happily, not autobiographical.

6 What’s the stupidest question anybody ever asked you about your work?

If I write fiction.

7 What is a subject you’d like to write about more?

Sex. I’m finishing my fourth book now and it has a bunch of sex scenes. Terrifying to write, but fun.

8 A book you wish you’d written?

My fifth.

9 Is there any subject you consider taboo?

No. If people do it, I’ll write about it.

10 What’s your favourite literary quote?

“Out of the old gut onto the goddamn page.” – Terry Southern.


  1. Smashing stuff. I agree about Enduring Love, too. It's one of my guilty pleasures.

  2. I read Wake Up Dead based on a recommendation from Peter R over at Detectives Beyond Borders. It was awesome. Def will read Mixed Blood his year.

  3. I agree, man. Sex is always terrifying -- especially with Mrs. Robinson in the shower. Gotta get the book now. Anyone who cites the early Spensers(before Parker unfortunately got too huge to edit)knows about lean and mean writing. Thanks for the tip. Cool.

  4. Can't wait for DUST DEVILS. The first two books were terrific.

  5. Thanks Paul, Sean & Naomi. AJ: I was referring to the character Parker not the author Parker. Sorry for the confusion.

  6. Aw Hell. My bad. Of course, that Parker. One of toughest guys ever. Lee Marvin was born to play him. Sorry for the flub.

  7. All of McEwan's books are as dark as any crime fiction book written. And congrats to Nigel for blowing the competition out of the water.

  8. Great posts, all.

    Patti, I'm not sure anyone was blown out of the water, but thanks.

    And Roger, thanks for being here.